Fall 2021

Newsletter Archive


Priddis Slough Wildlife Monitoring Yields Interesting Results

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The Priddis Slough is a large permanent wetland situated in southwest Calgary. In 2018 the City of Calgary built 194 Ave SW and included a bridge over the slough. We developed a wildlife monitoring program to determine how wildlife are currently crossing 194 Ave SW. We deployed 6 camera-traps in the Priddis Slough area to document wildlife movement in the area from May 25, 2020 through May 31, 2021. We also walked 21 snow transects parallel to the road during winter and documented how wildlife crossed the road using animal tracks.

There were over 1,000 wildlife detections with the camera-traps, including deer, coyotes, red foxes, moose, skunks and weasels. There were over 170 animal tracks observed during snow tracking from late November to early March. There are three ways for wildlife to cross 194 Ave SW, road, railway underpass or under the slough bridge. Results indicated wildlife most commonly cross 194 Ave SW on the road. Although coyote, fox, badger, mule deer and white-tailed deer were also documented crossing under the slough bridge. Both deer species only successfully crossed under the slough bridge during the winter months. This may be due to the presence of ice and snow that provide a travel option over the placed rock (rip rap) that hinder deer from crossing during most of the year.

We recommended continued wildlife monitoring including documenting the number of animal-vehicle collisions (currently low) to inform motorist safety as traffic volumes increase because wildlife most commonly cross on the road. If animal-vehicle collisions start to increase, transportation could consider installing fencing to direct animals to cross under the slough bridge and place additional small diameter drainage rock and/or soil along the abutments for ease of wildlife crossing during ice-free months.

We also suggested continued/increased efforts of transportation planners and designers working with ecologists to better understand and facilitate wildlife movements between remaining natural areas and green space in Calgary. Priddis Slough is a component of Calgary's ecological network and retaining ecological connectivity to other natural landscapes is important for the maintenance of biodiversity in Calgary.